The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruled that the Schmitzes waited too long to file the case but the 8th District Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The university and National Collegiate Athletic Association are appealing to the state supreme court, which will hear oral arguments in the case on April 11.
The Schmitz case marks the first time the Ohio Supreme Court will wade into the issues of CTE, which have gained national attention through the media, research reports, high-profile deaths and even a movie starring Will Smith.
The Schmitzes allege in the lawsuit that Notre Dame and the NCAA failed to notify, educate and protect Schmitz and other players about the debilitating long-term dangers of concussions and impacts that come with collegiate football.
Notre Dame and the NCAA argue in court filings that the deadline for Schmitzes to file lawsuits ended years ago. The timing of when a civil case must be filed to meet Ohio’s statute of limitations depends on whether CTE is considered a latent disease or a latent effect of an injury.
Related: Boston University study finds repeated hits to the head can cause CTE, without concussions
The 8th District Court of Appeals determined that the statute of limitations period didn’t start until December 2012, when Schmitz said he was first diagnosed with CTE.
Attorneys for the university and NCAA say that decision was wrong. They argue that Schmitz knew or should have known by at least 2010 — when the NCAA publicly issued a policy that universities had to have concussion management plans — of the alleged correlation between his injuries and playing football.